Thursday, June 20, 2024

Savannah Marshall must travel to US or neutral venue for MMA fight with Claressa Shields, says Dmitriy Salita

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Claressa Shields will not return to Britain for an MMA fight against Savannah Marshall, says the American star’s promoter Dmitriy Salita.

Marshall and Shields verbally agreed to resume their rivalry in the cage after the English fighter had marked her MMA debut with a first-round stoppage of Mirela Vargas at PFL Europe in Newcastle on Saturday night.

But Salita, who promotes Shields, has warned that she will not head back to the UK again after previously travelling to The O2 in London for a unanimous decision win over Marshall in their boxing bout in October 2022.

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Marshall has admitted she is keen to reignite her rivalry with Shields

Salita told Sky Sports: “Claressa and Savannah’s rivalry is alive and well in every sport they compete in. Great fighters need rivalries to drive the sport forward.

“As women’s boxing grows, it’s empowering to see the enormous popularity of this rivalry.

“To be fair, Claressa already travelled thousands of miles to the U.K. to beat Savannah in her home country and avenge her only [amateur] loss.

Savannah Marshall
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Savannah Marshall stopped Mirela Vargas in the first round at PFL Europe

“It relates to boxing, now the shoe is on the other foot, so Savannah has to come to the U.S. or possibly a neutral location.”

The duo are now set to trade strikes in MMA instead of boxing, but Salita remains confident that a rematch will happen in the ring.

But the immediate aim for Shields is becoming a four-weight world champion as she will challenge WBC heavyweight champion Vanessa Lepage-Joanisse in Detroit on July 27.

“It is one of the biggest and truest rivalries in boxing, a women’s version of Leonard vs Hearns,” said Salita. “Both are at their peak, and I believe a rematch is in order.

“But first things first – Claressa vs Vanessa, a fourth division title fight on July 27 in Detroit at Little Caesars Arena.

Claressa Shields
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Shields will not be heading back to Britain, says promoter Dmitriy Salita

“We would like to invite Savannah to sit ringside, as Claressa has done for many of Savannah’s fights.”

After Queensberry’s 10-0 victory over Matchroom in the recent 5 vs 5 tournament in Saudi Arabia, Salita is keen to stage a tournament between his promotional stable and BOXXER.

“We have one of the best talent rosters in the sport of boxing, which I would be delighted to showcase in 5 vs 5 against BOXXER or anyone else.

“Ladies first – Claressa vs Savannah can top the card.”

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